This reviewer is not certain that Outrageous! should be the title of this autobiography of pro basketball star Barkley. While some of his statements and actions might fall into this category, the book is in reality a recounting of the fairly typical experiences of a professional athlete. Barkley and coauthor Johnson tell of his early life in Leeds, Alabama in a single-parent family, his college success at Auburn, and his continued success with the Philadelphia 76ers. Barkley is certainly outspoken, and some of his beliefs are refreshing. Rather than looking for targets to blame for the failure of himself and many other college athletes to obtain an education, he states that athletes themselves must accept the responsibility because the opportunity is there. A marginal purchase unless your users have a great interest in pro basketball.-- William O. Scheeren, Hempfield Area H.S. Lib., Greensburg, Pa.
Aptly titled, this autobiography of the Philadelphia 76ers' "Round Mound of Rebound," written with Sports Illustrated's Johnson, is calculated for full shock value—and delivers. It also provides an entertaining, unabashedly honest look at the NBA's most controversial star. Following three stormy years at Auburn Univ., where he was "the second best athlete" on campus (after Bo Jackson), Barkley was the Sixers' 1984 first-round draft pick. Four inches over six feet, a "cannonball amid men," the five-time All-Star, despite his weight problems, is the rebound king: "any nitwit can score." Meanwhile, his career has been marked by one controversy after another, the most notorious being the March 1991 spitting incident in which he aimed at a heckling fan—"the guy's lucky to be alive"—and hit an eight-year-old girl. The league fined him $10,000. In all, Barkley has paid over $100,000 in fines. "My mouth," he writes, "has probably cost me at least $1 million" in endorsements. Certainly his comments here do little to curry favor. He blasts the NBA for not doing more about obnoxious fans; warns owner Harold Katz that if his "moves don't work, maybe I'll do something drastic" in the middle of the 1991-92 season; continues his criticism of teammates Manute Bol ("a one-dimensional player") and Armon Gilliam ("Mr. Macho"), and claims that the "NCAA is committing grand larceny by not paying college athletes." Sure to rankle fans, players, officials, and the media, Barkley frankly admits that "the main reason" he'll be on the 1992 Olympic team "is because it's a free trip to Spain....Give somebody else the gold medal; I just want the gold." Barkley will win few friends here, but hisblatant honesty is perversely refreshing and likely of wide appeal. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)